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  • by Skippack Pharmacy
  • September 20, 2023
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Supplements to Enhance Your Workout Performance and Recovery

Workout Supplements That May Support Your Performance

Working out is a key component to any happy and healthy lifestyle. Scheduling and adhering to a daily exercise routine is a great way to improve your cardiovascular health and burn off undesirable belly fat- a goal for most people. It is important to understand that you must provide your body with a proper and nutritious diet to fuel your workout. However, even with an adequate well-rounded diet, exercise is a stress to your body and can deplete it of essential nutrients and minerals. With proper supplementation, you can enhance your workout performance and recovery in order to help you achieve your fitness goals. 

 

Protein Powder: The Building Block of Muscles

Arguably the most important supplement for working out is protein powder. Proteins are what form the fibers in your muscle and help you become stronger and repair any microtears from working out. Protein powder is a cost effective way to maintain adequate protein intake when exercising. The powders are available from various sources such as whey, casein, and plant-based, leaving many options for those who do not consume animal products or have religious diet restrictions.  

 

Creatine: An Energy Boost to Reach Your Fitness Goals

Creatine is an energy source that your body naturally produces in the liver and kidneys. It is also obtained through the diet, primarily in animal products. Considered one of the most effective workout supplements, creatine has been extensively studied for its ability to improve strength and muscle mass. It helps regenerate adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the primary energy currency of cells, which leads to increased energy during high-intensity exercises like weightlifting and sprinting.

 

BCAAs: Reducing Muscle Soreness and Enhancing Recovery

Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are composed of three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. BCAAs are primarily broken down in the muscle and brain tissues into Acyl-CoA analogs to be used as fuel for your body. These amino acids play a crucial role in muscle recovery and reducing post-workout soreness. BCAAs can be particularly beneficial when exercising in a fasted state or during long, intense workout sessions. BCAA supplements are commonly taken right before exercise as a drink mix with a small amount of caffeine added.

 

Caffeine: A Great Energy Boost to Get You Started

Caffeine is the most widely consumed natural stimulant in the world and provides enhanced alertness, perceived fitness endurance and fat oxidation in the body. Caffeine is a great way to start your workout if you are feeling less than motivated. It is important to monitor when you are taking this supplement and how much you are taking. Taking it close to bedtime can disrupt a healthy sleep cycle and taking high doses can bring on anxiety and irritability as well as an elevated heart rate. 

 

Vitamin D: Supporting Overall Health and Muscle Function

Vitamin D is a crucial nutrient that plays a role in bone health, immune function, and even muscle function. Some studies suggest that maintaining adequate vitamin D levels may positively impact muscle strength and performance. If you have limited sun exposure or suspect a deficiency, consider talking to your healthcare provider about vitamin D supplementation.

 

Fish Oil/Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Combating Inflammation and Supporting Joints

Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil have potent anti-inflammatory properties and can aid in reducing exercise-induced inflammation. Additionally, omega-3s may support joint health, benefiting those engaged in high-impact workouts or weightlifting.

 

Electrolytes: Promoting Muscle Function and Reducing Cramps

Electrolytes are minerals which are dissolved in the water inside your body. They are essential for maintaining proper signaling to your muscles and maintaining water balance to name a few functions. The common important electrolytes are magnesium, potassium, sodium, and chloride. When we workout for extended periods of time, we sweat out large volumes of water, including these electrolytes! Generally, our diets provide us with adequate minerals to function. However, if you are working out for extended periods of time or at a high intensity, you should consider an electrolyte supplement. Diabetics also experience more water loss than average since their body tries to excrete excess glucose in the urine. They should consider an electrolyte supplement to account for the excess water loss. 

 

Magnesium is an essential mineral involved in muscle contraction and relaxation. It can help prevent muscle cramps and promote relaxation, especially after intense workouts. Magnesium supplements can be particularly beneficial for athletes with low dietary intake or those prone to muscle tightness. Sodium is incredibly important in the body to regulate fluid levels and signaling. Fluid levels contribute to things like blood pressure and blood volume. Likewise, potassium is essential for proper signaling from your brain to your muscles during exercise. If potassium levels are too low, you will experience cramping and poor performance. Chloride is necessary in the body for muscle contraction and regulating the transport of other nutrients and minerals into and out of the cells of your body. 

 

Conclusion

While supplements can be a valuable addition to your workout routine, they are not a substitute for a balanced diet and proper training. Before incorporating any new supplements into your regimen, consult with a qualified healthcare professional or a registered dietitian. Everyone’s nutritional needs are different, so a personalized approach is crucial for achieving your fitness goals safely and effectively. Remember to listen to your body, stay hydrated, and prioritize rest and recovery for optimal performance.

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5568273/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3407788/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1895359/
  4. https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/hormonal-and-metabolic-disorders/electrolyte-balance/overview-of-sodiums-role-in-the-body
  5. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/chloride/#:~:text=It%20helps%20to%20regulate%20the,and%20carbon%20dioxide%20within%20cells 

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